Preface and Acknowledgments
It took myriad individuals, villages, and institutions to raise this book. The
‘‘villages’’—from urban neighborhoods and homes, to Anatolian hamlets,
to Eastern European transit routes—portrayed in these pages contain the
amorphous stu√ of anthropological fieldwork. The fieldwork was shaped
by circuitous and lengthy pathways, replete with countless detours in the
peregrinations. My routes through these often unconventional fields de-
scribed a patchworked sensorium: the years in Turkey and Germany were
punctuated by ongoing conversations with migrants, sharing flats with
some of them, enduring cloudy smoke and painful fatigue, making exhila-
rating discoveries, and developing cherished intimacies. It entailed endless
hours of simply hanging out, watching and waiting for nothing or some-
thing to happen; loitering at demonstrations, markets, mosques, street
corners, playgrounds, cafes, and grocers; being squeezed into many an
ancient Istanbul dolmu¸s seemingly held together with rubber bands and
prayer, propelled by liquid petroleum ‘‘aygaz’’ bombs in the boot. Field-
work meant the myriad trips through the Bosphorus, suspended between
continents, providing the consummate antidote to the stimulations and
trials of quotidian Istanbul; the distinctive smell and sight of coal dust on
Berlin’s snowy winter streets that never quite reached full daylight; finding
refuge in Kachelofen-infused cold-water flats, whose primary olfactory
memory is smoky coal fused with simmering mutton. Collections of saved
articles, pamphlets, reports, statistics, brochures, flyers, and concert pro-
grams had to be distilled into a mere handful of references mentioned in
this book. Countless scraps of semi-legible scrawls complement the stacks
of filled notebooks, carbon-copied typed notes, floppy disks, and random
thoughts and snippets that only years later developed into fully digested
patterns and meanings.
All this relied on meeting scores of people, and in an array of contexts.
Many generously invited me into their homes, tolerated my questions and
observations, as they shared food, drink, rituals, hopes, disappointments,
and confidences. Without these people, necessarily nameless here, I could
Previous Page Next Page